Written By: Emma Squillace
You likely know that sitting most of the day is not the best choice for the blood flow in your legs. A primary consequence of sitting the majority of the day is potentially developing varicose veins. Often we advise our vein patients to take brief walks every 1 – 2 hours during the workday, even if it’s just around the office floor. However, we also know the reality is that sometimes you’re stuck at your desk for the majority of the time. If this is your work situation, there are some steps you can take to help mitigate the risks of poor blood flow. Remember that it is not possible to reverse varicose veins, so any steps you can take to prevent them, are good ones. Today we’ll share our list of exercises you can do right from your desk, that can help encourage blood flow to your legs.
This is such a simple movement, but it has been shown to increase blood flow. While sitting and keeping your legs still, flex your foot, bringing your toes towards your knee. Then slowly point your toes away from your knee, so that your food makes a line with your leg. Hold each position for 2 – 3 seconds, and perform 10 repetitions. You can either use one foot at a time or both feet together.
During this exercise, you’ll be pushing your toes into the ground while you lift up your heels. Sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, start by firmly pushing the balls of your feet into the floor while you lift your heels. Take a slow count of 3 to lift your heels all the way up, then another slow count of 3 to lower them. Repeat 12 times.
Lower Leg Extensions
This exercise will get the blood flowing in your thighs as well as your lower legs. While sitting, extend your lower leg so your foot is as high off the ground as you can get it (parallel to the floor is great, but not necessary if your desk is in the way). Then lower your leg again. Repeat 10 times. You can also combine lower leg extensions with foot extensions.
This can be done even with the most minimal of free space. Trace a wide clockwise circle with your foot by moving your ankle but keeping your leg still. Make 4 circles. Then reverse direction and trace a wide counter-clockwise circle with your foot. Repeat 5 times with each foot.
Many of the patients we treat for varicose veins have jobs where they sit a lot. Whether it’s because you’re at a desk or driving a truck, sitting for long periods of time can really inhibit your circulation. While your best option is to find as many chances as possible to get up and walk for a few minutes, you can still improve your circulation without standing up. These exercises are also great for plane rides, which can not only aggravate varicose veins but may lead to an extremely dangerous condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
If you do not have varicose veins, take as many steps as possible to avoid getting them. Once you have them, there is no way to reverse the vein damage. Your only option is medical or surgical treatments, like those offered by West Medical If you do have varicose veins, there are many minimally invasive solutions you can consider. Our treatments allow you to benefit cosmetically – by giving you back younger, smoother legs – and also by relieving uncomfortable symptoms like aching and heavy legs. Our vein experts would be happy to speak with you and help you understand your options. We have minimally invasive treatments such as laser vein removal or sclerotherapy, that have helped thousands of patients with varicose veins. If you would like to ask any questions about vein issues, please reach out to our expert vein team at (855) 690-0565.